I wear a red poppy. And a white poppy.

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I had a neighbor who was a veteran of WWII. He was a noble and kind man – just the type who would sign up to defend/aid the helpless. I wear a red poppy to remember people like him and the courage of those who put their own lives at risk to enable others to live in peace. And there are more points in history when that happened other than just the European wars so often mentioned.

But I really detest the way the wars in Iraq/Afghanistan are being seamlessly woven into the solemnity of Remembrance Day. For the last three years I haven’t been able to stand being in the audience for the R.D. assemblies at school; we’re always treated to a montage of videos showing “the noble work our troops are doing over there”. There’s pride ringing in the air and I’m slumped, crying inside for the vast numbers of innocents who suffered and suffer still.

We really need to examine the emptiness of our words to our children on Remembrance Day. Settle your differences peacefully we tell them the whole year and then we swell in pride to honor a war that’s killed over 1 million people. They’re going to begin to see through us.

Who’s going to have the guts to stand up and say don’t paint the drilling for bucks with the red of the poppy when it’s the red of blood that’s really drenching the scene?

The Prophet Muhammad said “If you see a wrong, 1. change it with your hands (act); if you cannot do that, 2. change it with your tongue (speak); and if you cannot do that, 3. dislike it in your heart and beyond that, there is no faith.”

I wear a white poppy because I am weak.

1. My actions are very limited: my class – all wearing red and white poppies – performed a poem entitled “Peace Begins with Me”for the assembly. I don’t know how much that helped.

2. I speak only to a few others who I know share my thoughts/sadness. I don’t dare rock the boat that’s swollen with misplaced pride.

3. So I wear a white poppy over my disliking heart. And that is the least I can do.

This is something I made last year for YouTube’s Get Out of Iraq Campaign.

Update: Here’s a moving post on Remembrance Day by Abdiel.